Music at Eden’s Edge
Music at Eden’s Edge (www.edensedge.org), the North Shore’s own resident chamber music ensemble, presents Treble Treasures of August, an enchanting program of works from three centuries.
Magical discoveries await when mezzo soprano, flute, violin and piano meet in a potpourri of music, from J.S. Bach to Camille Saint-Säens, Leo Delibes to Daniel
Pinkham. This over-the-top mix will thrill with virtuosity, surprise with humor and touch the heart with something for everyone to savor.
These eclectic selections will be presented on Friday, August 22 at 8 PM at the First Universalist Church of Essex, 57 Main Street in Essex, and on Saturday, August 23 at 8 PM at the Home of John Archer, at 10 North Street in Danvers.
In addition, MEE will present the program on Tuesday, August 19 at 2 PM at the fully accessible Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church, 323 Locust Street in Danvers as part of its free Senior/Family Series.
Featuring GRAMMY-nominated mezzo soprano D’Anna Fortunato, the song cycle Along the Field by Ralph Vaughan-Williams is the heart-felt core of the concert. It consists of 8 songs, settings of texts by A.E. Housman. Filled with wit and charm as well as irony, regret and reflection, these are haunting and evocative pieces which really touch our deepest emotions. Based on traditional English folk-songs, the tunes and temperament have a timeless appeal, balancing between sweet sadness and delight.
“J.S Bach wrote many wonderful Cantatas numbering over 200 that I have found are quite satisfying to perform with the full forces of orchestra, chorus and soloists,” says Fortunato. “Part of this satisfaction comes from the dramatic story line and denouement from the 1st Chorus to the last Chorale. Many arias stand up well on their own in concert settings. The aria Ich will nach dem Himmel zu from Cantata 146 has such a journey within its form, taking one on a believers’ trip from the temptations of this earth to the longing for heaven. All the while, the aria brings to life brilliant violin figurations and energetic rhythms for the vocal writing which creates a terrific playful sense in a performance setting. What fun it will be to interchange my vocal line with the obbligato lines of my duet partner, Maria Benotti and keyboardist, Emily Murphy!”
The virtuosity of the flute, played by Orlando Cela, offers a sparkling opening to the concert in La Flûte invisible and La Flûte enchantée. Ravel’s La Flûte enchantée represents the exotic Far East; in this case, it is Scheherazade who, watching her master sleep, hears a flute in the distance in which sound all the despair and the joy of the world are encased. In the Saint-Saëns’ La Flûte invisible, the flute happens upon a poet (Victor Hugo), who hears the flute in the distance played by a shepherd. He cannot see it, but hears in it the most peaceful of sounds.
Le Rossignol by Leo Delibes is a virtuosic tour de force for the flute player. This aria provides a very literal background to the text being sung, requiring refinement to perform the very difficult lines while projecting a bird-like, joyful, relaxed feeling in the music – all without overpowering the delicate sung lines in the voice part. Indeed, the virtuosic solo flute is not just charming as the voice of the Rossignol (Nightingale), but is often breathtaking in its’ exciting roulades and candenzas. The vocal writing shadows much of the call and answer of a bird conversation with the flute, along with a lovely flowing line that carries poetic thoughts about love with a sweet pastoral feel.
“The Corigliano is my favorite!” says Cela of the Three Irish Folksong Settings. “Sometimes mist, sometimes flute, sometimes bird, the flute accompaniment is the most imaginative of all pieces for the combination of flute and voice duo that I have encountered. The texts by Colum, Yeats, and the anonymous The Foggy Dew are set very differently, and they really provide the listener with the deep understanding of the verses – sometimes virtuosic, sometimes pale, sometimes, soaring… The way that the voice and the flute are sometimes in complete cohesion and other times in seeming opposition, makes you feel like you are playing classical music, followed by Irish folk music, then bird calls.”
Also on the program are Saint-Saëns’ Le Bonheur est chose légère, Fauré’s Romance for Violin and Piano, and Vowels by Daniel Pinkham.
Concert tickets are $20 for general admission, $18 for seniors, and $15 for students and $55 for families (up to 5 family members). They may be purchased online at www.edensedge.org, at the door, or by calling 978-270-4463.